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Greetings all! I just recently purchased a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI 6 speed and am loving it so far. I've previously been a Subaru girl (with the exception of a beloved old Volvo) and I'm not new to a manual but I *am* new to front wheel drive and a diesel.

I've checked the forums here (which have been very helpful, thanks!) and elsewhere and see that many people have some trouble stalling when starting on a steep incline in the TDIs, but that's actually not my issue. I'm use to having rollback protection in the Subaru so I could take a couple seconds to ease out the clutch in first but in this car I notice I immediately start rolling backwards (and keep going) unless I use the hand-break method which is doable but I'm concerned about wearing out the hand-break and it also makes me feel like quite the n00b having to do it that way.

I read in another post on here that some people need to really floor it when they start on a steep hill. I've tried that and end up spinning my front tires (oddly, usually just the driver's side tire, any input on that?) which is not just bad for the car but it makes me look like an idiot; I'm more concerned about the former, but I'd still like to not be that jerk on the road burning rubber. Obviously, this is a skill issue and I take full responsibility that I need to do some learning here. I've been playing with it on a friend's driveway that's quite steep and I've only successfully been able to make a smooth start by using the hand-break method so far. Any advice?

Many thanks!
-Rebecca
 

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You'll get used to the clutch pedal. It seems like there are a lot of complaints about this and there's no adjustment for it. You won't break the hand brake using it. How steep is this hill?
 

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Since it's a diesel, on a moderately steep incline, you can hold the brakes, start releasing the clutch until the car starts shaking, at that point release the brakes (the car should not rollback if the incline is not too steep), and quickly accelerate while smoothly releasing the rest of the clutch.

For steeper inclines, you might need some help from the hand brake. You definitely don't want to hold the car too long using the clutch only, or spin it too much while not fully engaged as it will reduce the transmission's life.

I find the clutch VERY sensitive in this car. I was in San Francisco last week and had a hard time at some hilly stop signs. It definitely takes some getting used to it.
 
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